Cedric Jenning’s story calls us to confront our own prejudices

Eye Staff Reporter

From the inner city to the Ivy League, Cedric Jennings is the manifestation of the American dream. This summer the Saint Ignatius school community read the book, A Hope In the Unseen. This dramatic story of a young man from the inner city that overcame obstacles to achieve his dreams offers an important perspective on our own lives.

A Hope In the Unseen was chosen for the school by a panel of teachers that suggested the book to the administration. A teacher on the panel told the Eye: “We found the book exactly what our school needs. The many complex and relatable difficulties that Cedric confronts are similar to all students here at St. Ignatius.”  Another teacher related the book to the school’s on-going goal of combating prejudice. They believed the book would be able to spark an honest and educated debate. The discussion that many  students are taking part in and around campus helps with the problems of prejudice we face as a school.

As a school we have a real problem with prejudice.  But the prejudices at our school do not only encompass race, but also gender and sexual orientation. The goal of the book is to help us to better understand the struggles faced by others, so that we combat our own prejudices. We cannot just sweep those prejudices under the rug and pretend they do not exist. To speak openly and honestly is what is best for confronting the problems head on. It is also the braver thing to do. We can, as a school, confront and defeat the prejudices that we face here at St. Ignatius.

We should feel honored to have been given the privilege of having Cedric Jennings come to our campus.   His personal story about overcoming the barriers tin his life was inspiring.  But he did not come only to inspire us to believe in ourselves.   He also reminded us not to be “dream busters,” and to support each other regardless of our outward differences.